This study published in Behavioural and Cognitive Psychotherapy investigated a key question for many practitioners: does trauma-focussed exposure-based therapy exacerbate PTSD and substance abuse? This study looked at potential exacerbation of symptoms among treatment-seeking military veterans with comorbid PTSD and SUD who were randomised to either integrated exposure-based treatment for PTSD and substance use disorder, or treatment for substance use disorder only. The findings showed that at each of the 12 sessions, symptom exacerbation was minimal and in general equally likely in each treatment group. Consistent with previous research, the findings of this study indicate that trauma-focussed, exposure-based therapy does not increase the risk of symptom exacerbation relative to non-exposure-based therapy.
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